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OFF KILTER: Light of the World

Yesterday I had the sad experience of saying goodbye to one of my favorite coworkers on his retirement day, someone I spent more than a decade working beside, sharing our lives with each other as we worked day by day. When someone passes away, often you have a reflective time, but even with something planned out in advance, like retirement—you realize that suddenly your time in someone else's company is up. And if you are a believer, you are left to wonder—was I a good witness to this person? Could they see God in me?

Today's scripture comes from:

Matthew 5:14-16 (Today's NIV) "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message- Remix) "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand- shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

For my musical reference, I will name drop the Newsboys, simply because they have at least 3 songs that come directly from these verses: "God is not a Secret," "Going Public," and "Shine." One of their main objectives as a band, and also ours as Christians, is evangelism.

Now evangelism has gotten a bad rap in modern days. If the first thing that comes to your mind is people knocking on your door, and that leaves a bad taste in your mouth—I understand completely. Cold evangelism is gutsy, but it is after all just that- cold. I'm not saying that's a wrong approach—and each of us needs to be open to what the Holy Spirit would have us do—but sometimes there's a better way to lead a horse to water.

So why are we here on earth? Certainly there must be more than the perpetual rat race of earthly living. The verses above clue us in. We are to be the light of the world. No, we can't escape the rat race, in a sense; but while we are at it, we are rubbing elbows with all kinds of people. Some may be fellow believers, but many are not. We must live our lives in such a way that people see God working in us, that His light shines through us. That doesn't necessarily involve preaching. The opportunity may arise to talk to others about God, but oftentimes it is our character in adversity that shows our witness to others. Are you quick to blame others, or start cursing when things go badly for you (and trust me—they will!) Simply put- we are extensions of God's love to the world. Let us be good conduits, so that God's love flows out of us and into the people we live alongside day after day. I will continue this train of thought next time.

Blessings to you!

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